Practical analysis for investment professionals


Analyst Forecasts: Lessons in Futility

It is common knowledge that all forecasts are wrong, but many investors still think forecasting one-year stock returns is a useful exercise, Joachim Klement, CFA, writes.

Research Analysts Add Value: Here’s Proof

Post-event analyst forecasts — those made subsequent to recent results or management guidance — are significantly more accurate than management forecasts, reports Jeremy Monk. And if analysts can provide insight into tangible measures of value, then we can presume they are also able to offer insight into other, less tangible measures of value, such as management quality and industry outlook.

Mind the Gap: Wall Street Forecasts and YTD Returns

Despite Wall Street expectations that the S&P 500 would rise 8% in 2016, the index fell 7% in December and January. Five points of that decline came in January alone. But January’s slide was only just greater than one standard deviation move. As we’ll see, one month can handily destroy expectations going forward.

Dumb Alpha: The Drawbacks of Compound Interest

With short-term forecasts, random walks tend to outperform the accumulated wisdom of professional forecasters. That estimation uncertainty is not reduced for long-term forecasts either, because mean reversion cannot overcome the effects of compound interest. Luckily, there is a range of techniques, from simple to sophisticated, that can help long-term investors with this challenge.

Which Nation Will Drive Global Growth in 2016?

As 2015 quickly draws to a close, you might be wondering what 2016 has in store for us. This week we asked readers of our CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief which country they think will contribute the most to global economic growth in 2016. Check out what they had to say.

Dumb Alpha: Are Your Forecasts Better Than a Random Walk?

Research confirms a “wisdom of the crowds” effect insofar as only a few analysts seem able to consistently outperform the consensus forecast compiled from many different analysts.

15 Charts: Can the Market Have Its Cake and Eat It Too?

When markets could either plummet or redefine the term "rally," the worst thing you can do is seek to be correct at the expense of being robust. So as much as you focus on coming up with a good forecast, make sure you also prepare for those times when your model is wildly off.

Forecast Early and Often

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig recently wrote of a truism that is rarely acknowledged within the investment industry: Wall Street market forecasts offer little to no value. While it may be a fruitless exercise, hearing the prognostications of acknowledged market experts remains a guilty pleasure of many investment professionals, which may explain why nearly 1,000 of them turned out last week for CFA Society Toronto’s 58th Annual Forecast Dinner.

Market Experts See Slow Growth, Increased Volatility, and a Comeback for Active Management

Three top Wall Street strategists shared their predictions on the future performance of global financial markets with the CFA Society Toronto recently. While guardedly optimistic, they included calls for slow growth, increased volatility, and a return for active management.

Book Review: Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters

Walter A. Friedman tells the captivating story of some pioneers of what many still call the “black art” of economic forecasting and credits them with inspiring succeeding generations of forecasters who may or may not have raised the art to a science.

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